Lord Balaji’s jewelry stolen at Tirumala

Tirupati: In what could be a major shock to Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams (TTD), which is reeling under pressure owing to a series of lapses on its part, another jewellery scam came to light. Though it happened in the early 2018, the issue was kept under the wraps and no complaint or action had been taken so far against the corrupt employees in TTD. According to the latest scam, 5.4 kg silver crown, two gold rings and two golden necklaces were not found in the Tirupati treasury.

BJP leader G Bhanuprakash, a former TTD trust board member, has found fault with TTD officials for not bringing the matter to light and not lodging a complaint with the police.  

“Moreover, the TTD is deducting some amount from the employee every month for recovering the value of the stolen jewellery. Why did TTD so far not lodge any complaint with the Vigilance Department or the security wing or the police station. If proper action is not taken against the corrupt employees, BJP will mobilise the devotees to siege the Administrative Building of TTD,” warned Bhanuprakash.

It has been learnt that finance department official Mr Balaji is recovering Rs 30,000 every month from the salary of assistant executive officer Mr M Srinivasulu, citing him responsible for the missing jewellery.

“This is being done citing reasons of excess or shortages in the Treausary Department to safeguard the culprits in TTD,” said another official on a condition of anonymity.

According to the physical verification report carried in 2017, Rs 19.16 lakh worth of jewellery was found missing. Meanwhile, Mr M Srinivasulu, AEO at VQC, Tirumala, in a letter dated March 27, 2019, requested the executive officer of TTD to reconsider the recovery order, which was issued to him on November 28, 2018 and collect Rs 7,3,376 from his salary.

“Each and every transaction in the TTD Treasury is being done systematically and all the movements of goods and items are under surveillance of CC cameras and in the presence of Vigilance and Security staff. Hence, no question of raising the shortage of jewellery would arise. However, in view of error or ignorance on the category of material, one found to be short i.e. the item under one head of account may be mingled with another head of account. Therefore the recovery order for remitting huge amount of Rs 7,36,376 without the outcome of the particulars with regard to the shortage of jewels together with their value are not feasible and acceptable by me,” said Mr Srinivasulu in his letter.

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